Seven years. That's how long Larry Fedora dedicated to the UNC football program. That's also how long it took him to run it into the ground and make a mockery of it.
Now don't get me wrong, Fedora's tenure at Carolina wasn't an entire horrendous disappointment. In his seven years as head coach of the Tar Heels Fedora had four winning seasons and led the Tar Heels to four bowl games. At the end of the day, though, he never could seem to get the job done winning only one bowl game of the four his teams appeared in. His most successful season at Carolina came in 2015 and included an 11-3 record, an ACC regular season title, and a near perfect record against ACC opponents for the season, only falling off the tracks against Clemson in the ACC championship game. Coach Fedora's overall record during his time at UNC was 45-43.
UNC has never been dubbed as a "football school" in the way that other universities (such as Alabama and Ohio State) have been, but that doesn't mean that UNC's football program doesn't know success. The popularity of Carolina football began to rise during the early 1990s under the helm of Coach Mack Brown.
While Brown's first two seasons were, to date, the worst seasons the Tar Heels have experienced in the modern era each having a record of 1-10. Brown eventually took charge and turned the football program into something some might even call admirable. Though an ACC title always alluded Brown during his nine-year stint with the Tar Heels by no means was he a disappointment as a coach. Before heading to Texas to be the head coach there, Mack Brown had an overall record of 69-46-1.
In the past few seasons, the Carolina football leadership has made some questionable choices both on and off the field which led to multiple players being suspended at the beginning of the 2018 season and a comment by Larry Fedora publicly admonishing research into CTE and its impact on the game of football. Fedora's off-field decisions are, in my opinion, just as poorly thought out as his on field decisions. In the 2018 season alone Carolina was within seconds of victory on multiple occasions only to end up losing at the last second. Two overtime games and a night game against Virginia Tech in which multiple trips to the Red Zone without the scoreboard reflecting it goes to show that decision making on the sidelines was not up to par.
No, I don't know everything about the sport of football and I won't pretend to but I will never understand switching quarterbacks in the middle of a successful drive once you've reached the ten-yard line to end up having to settle for a field goal or no points at all. As an avid sports fan, the conduct of the coaching staff is just another reason that I am not heartbroken to wave goodbye to the era of Larry Fedora as UNC's head coach.
I was not born during Mack Brown's coaching era at UNC, but I have heard from numerous people who are much older than I am and have been Tar Heels fans for years that Coach Mack Brown showed that the Carolina football program could be a contender against much more dominant football programs. As he returns to Carolina for the 2019 season that's the hope that lingers in the hearts of many distraught Tar Heel fans. Our last taste of true success was in 2015 and 2016, it's time that we get back to that.
In the past few years excuse after excuse has been made for why the Carolina football team hasn't reached it's full potential and found success. It's time for us to quit with the excuses and be honest with ourselves. We have a number of talented young offensive weapons at our disposal, but we have to have a coach who can work with them to improve and garner some respect once again.
No, we shouldn't expect Mack Brown to come in and immediately have the success that he had back in the day, that will take some time. But we should expect that under his direction this program should, and will turn around. As a Tar Heel fan, and a sports fan, I am excited to see where this new era in Carolina football takes us. No more excuses and bad decisions from the head coach, it's time we stand behind a man who has shown us what success looks like in the past and who can show us what that looks like once again.